Facebook’s fact-checkers on Sunday labeled as “partly false” a video that it said was manipulated to make it appear as if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was drunk or drugged. The video had been circulating on Facebook since Thursday and by Sunday night had been viewed more than 2 million times.
A similarly false video of Pelosi went viral on Facebook in May 2019. At the time, Pelosi blasted Facebook for not removing the video. Facebook had instead applied a fact-check label to it.Facebook did not remove the new video on Sunday either, meaning it can still be viewed on the platform but a warning label has been placed on it. Videos marked false are also promoted less by Facebook’s algorithms, the company says. Facebook said it will also send a notification to people who shared the video to flag the fact check.
That the video was viewed so many times will likely prompt renewed scrutiny of policies on misinformation. The earlier manipulated Pelosi video prompted similar scrutiny.
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It’s worth noting that, once again, Facebook did not take action to even apply a label to the doctored video until it had gone viral on the platform. As Donie O’Sullivan noted in his story, the video had been circulating since Thursday, but Facebook took action Sunday night when it had been already viewed more than 2 million times. Stone reiterated to me that fact-checked content has its distribution reduced and that people who shared it are notified a fact-check was applied.
But O’Sullivan also noted the video is still continuing to rack up hundreds of thousands of views. My two cents: The fact that Facebook is so often acting only after disinfo has gone viral on its platform indicates that the company’s current approach to stemming bad content from being widely shared isn’t very effective.